Sunday, February 22, 2015

Whos Going to Believe Brian Williams Anymore?

By Michael Ryder

Brian Williams is a journalist and news anchor who has worked at the NBC Nightly News for the past ten years. He’s won twelve awards for his work on the NBC Nightly News and his broadcasts have helped NBC’s news program beat out their top two competitors in terms of ratings for almost six years. According to the LA Times, Business Insider and other sources, Williams is making $10 million per year. Despite his good reputation, Williams landed himself in the middle of a controversy in early 2015.

Williams has claimed that while he was covering the war in Iraq in 2003, he was riding in a military helicopter that was hit with a grenade and forced to the ground. Since then, Williams has appeared on a number of programs retelling the story of his experience, however, using slightly different wording. The actual story was that, according to a CNN article, a helicopter was forced down but Williams was not on board and instead arrived an hour later via another helicopter that “took no fire and landed beside the damaged helicopter.”

Williams confirmed, in 2015, that he was not in the helicopter that was hit and that he “made a mistake” in his retellings. He has also blamed having a foggy memory. He issued a public apology and was subsequently suspended from his position.

Brian Williams is sure to lose a lot of credibility, as well as respect, in the aftermath of this event. As Americans, how can we put back our trust in someone who is supposed to be reporting the truth to the masses after they confirmed lying to us? I don’t really buy the whole “foggy memory” excuse that he is using. If you were riding in a helicopter that was hit with a grenade and forced to the ground, I think you would remember that pretty vividly. Although I do believe in second chances, I don’t think there is an excuse for a reporter lying about something of that magnitude. And for a successful news anchor, I don’t see why he would feel the need to do that – he is well-established, trusted and definitely doesn’t need the publicity.

After his suspension is up and he’s back on air, is anyone really going to believe what he says or go to him to get their news anymore? If NBC Nightly News wants to reestablish their credibility and bring back their viewers, I think they should make Williams’ suspension a permanent one.

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